The average price of new apartments in the Czech Republic is the highest among former communist states in the region, according to a newly published study by Deloitte. The average cost per square metre of new flats in this country is three quarters more than in Poland and almost twice as much as in Hungary. It would take Czechs 6.9 years of pay to purchase a 70 metre squared apartment, compared to over 7 years for Slovenians and Hungarians and 11 years for Britons, the report says.
Former international Jan Koller has criticised the performances of the Czech Republic at football’s Euro 2016, where they picked up only one point in three group games. The country’s record goal-scorer told the newspaper Sport that Pavel Vrba’s team had looked scared, treated opponents Spain and Croatia like unplayable supermen and produced “very destructive football”. Koller said he had previously refrained from speaking negatively about Czech teams but this time he had to be critical of one of the worst sides in the tournament.
Inflation in the Czech Republic remains close to zero, reaching 0.1 percent year-on-year for the second month in a row in June, according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office on Tuesday. An analyst with Komerční banka told the Czech News Agency that inflation was unlikely to rise significantly in the coming months. Fuel prices increased by four percent compared to May, but overall inflation was pulled down by reductions in the prices of foodstuffs.
The state body tasked with keeping emergency reserves, the Administration for State Reserves, says that it has signed an agreement with the insolvency administrator and new owner of German fuels storage company, Viktoriagruppe, which guarantees the return of Czech stored fuel worth around 1.2 billion crowns. The state body says that the fuel should be shipped back to the Czech Republic within two months after a rail link to the storage site at Krailing is repaired. The agreement should draw a line under a long tussle over ownership of the fuel following the bankruptcy of the German company.
Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš has only agreed for a minimal loan so far to mining company OKD of around 150 million crowns, according to Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek. Mládek said the sum would only be sufficient as a stop gap measure to pay wages for July and by September the government would be faced with the same position again. Last week managers of the hard coal mining company said that an external loan of 700 million to 1.0 billion crowns was needed this year to keep the mines working. The government committee dealing with OKD’s problems met on Monday without Andrej Babiš. He has demanded guarantees that any state loans be repaid. Around 12,000 jobs depend on the mining company.
The government has agreed to earmark 100 million crowns for the development aid budget in 2017. The increase brings the overall budget for development aid to around 1.0 billion crowns. The foreign ministry is originally reported to have asked for an increase of 200 million crowns. Most Czech development aid is spent on specific projects in chosen countries with smaller slices of spending earmarked for emergency help and transformation aid.
The Czech Republic has registered the name Czechia in English, with other versions in the world’s main languages, as the country’s shortened title with the United Nations. The move was agreed by the government at the start of May in spite of opposition from some ministers that it would mean extra expense, in part rewriting and rebranding existing promotional material. The foreign ministry has led the call for an agreed shortened name for the Czech Republic arguing that the current official name is long winded and has given rise to a series of different unofficial short versions. Organisations will be able to choose whether to use the long or shortened versions but the ministry hopes to see Czechia taking off for sports and cultural events.
In tennis, top Czech men’s player Tomáš Berdych has climbed the rankings following his Wimbledon progress to the semi-finals. Berdych has advanced to eighth place in the world from his previous position at ninth. Top woman Petra Kvitová, who was knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon, has dropped out of the top 10 and is now at 13th place. Jiří Veselý has climbed 14 places and now features in the men’s top 50.
The Supreme Court has confirmed a three-and-a-half year prison sentence on a Slovak man who was stopped last year by Czech police trying to smuggle 27 illegal immigrants to Germany. The 15 men, four women and seven children were found in cramped conditions in a van with around one cubic metre of space each. They all originally came from Afghanistan.
The country’s spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office, has castigated moves by three government bodies to try and create a single payment site for all tax, customs, social security and health transactions. In a report published Monday, it said that around 3.5 billion crowns was spent, mostly on non-related activities which did not advance the project at all. The project aimed at simplifying payments and collection was approved by the government in 2008. It was originally supposed to be completed by 2014.